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Senate Blocks Continuing Resolution Including Zika Spending; Negotiators Continue Work To Prevent Government Shutdown Friday

Associated Press: Senate blocks stopgap bill to prevent shutdown this weekend
“A must-do bill to prevent the government from shutting down this weekend and to fund the fight against the Zika virus is stalled in the Senate, held up by bipartisan opposition as the clock ticks toward a Friday deadline. Democrats, demanding money so Flint, Michigan, can address its lead-contaminated water crisis, overwhelmingly opposed the measure in a Senate test vote Tuesday. So did a dozen of the Senate’s most conservative members. The 45-55 vote ties up the stopgap funding bill — for now at least…” (9/27).

CQ News: Four Days Left in Fiscal 2016, Senate Rejects Republican CR
“…Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had laid down the measure in the form of a substitute amendment to the legislative vehicle (HR 5325). Following that vote, senators couldn’t gather the votes to limit debate on the underlying legislative vehicle, either, voting 40-59 to reject invoking cloture. This means lawmakers will have to head back to the negotiating table and hash out a deal palatable enough to garner 60 votes in the Senate that would pass through the House before Friday at midnight to avert a partial government shutdown…” (Mejdrich, 9/27).

CQ News: It Might Be an Emergency, But Zika Response Will Take Years
“…[J]ust because Zika is an emergency does not mean that most of the funds allocated for it in a stopgap spending bill will be spent any time soon. … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies receiving $1.1 billion in emergency Zika funds will have to obligate the money before the end of fiscal 2017, but spending can go on for several years. So even though Zika aid has been a main legislative fight this year, the response money will likely be spent well through 2021, as research into the mosquito-borne virus continues and a vaccine moves through a multi-phase trial…” (Shutt/Krawzak, 9/27).

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